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Conservative MP for Scarborough Centre (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 35.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as that member knows, we have already publicly said that we would offer additional briefings on the future bill, which is certainly not the one we are talking about today in the House, which is a bill we have been debating for quite some time. I would like to make sure that all members who are present are aware that we have already said we would offer additional briefings.

The briefing that was offered was offered out of courtesy, and it was offered today with regard to the future bill, which has been tabled, in order to avoid offending the conventions of parliamentary privilege. I think everyone in the House already knows that.

With respect to the bill we are debating today, it is important to complete this bill and have it receive royal assent. We have to do everything possible to ensure that our security agencies have the authority to operate overseas and to protect their informants in the same way as other police and law enforcement agencies do across this country.

The measures that are included in Bill C-44 are common sense measures. The bill is a result of recent court questions that called into question the authority of CSIS to do these types of things. The reality is clear. This act had not been changed for almost 30 years.

The bill that is before us is important. Why the NDP continues to vote against something as common sense as the measures included in this bill, I have absolutely no idea.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the question speaks to the fact that the New Democrats are not attuned to the real threat of terrorism in this country.

The member asked about a briefing that he said took place today regarding the bill. There was no briefing on this bill today. We are here in the House debating Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

I will go back to the reasons that this bill was brought forward.

The bill was actually supposed to be tabled on the same day that the terrorist attacks took place in Ottawa. Sadly, events unfolded, and the legislation was brought forward a short time thereafter. The bill seeks to clarify the act to allow and give the authority for our Canadian Security Intelligence Service to continue operating overseas.

Can members imagine for a moment if our Security Intelligence Service were limited by the borders that surround Canada? In committee, members of the opposition voted against this bill, and I am sure they are going to vote against it again when it comes to a vote in this House, even though the opposition members bring up questions about radicalization overseas.

There was a question brought forward by an NDP member on that committee with regard to revocation of a passport from someone who has travelled overseas. The question asked was, “What if they wanted to come back?”

Terrorism is not about a day at the beach. This is a serious issue, and I wish that the New Democrats would actually take this serious issue—

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour.

I am very pleased to be here today to join in the debate on Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. Before I go into the particulars of the bill, I would like to speak about how our government has been committed to keeping our streets and communities safe by supporting the global fight against terrorist threats since we were first elected in 2006.

As we have seen, the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. In fact, several hundred Canadians have been killed or injured in terrorist attack incidents in Canada and abroad over the past number of decades. This includes the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, which was planned and executed on our soil and killed 280 innocent Canadians. It also includes the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in which 24 Canadians lost their lives.

To guard against these domestic and international terrorist threats, our government is using a multi-pronged approach. For example, in 2007, our government implemented the passenger protect program, which identifies individuals who may pose a threat to aviation security and disrupts their ability to cause harm or threaten aviation by preventing them from boarding aircraft.

As we are all aware, on October 7, 2014, the House passed a motion to support the government's decision to join coalition efforts to counter ISIL. Canada's military mission is in addition to the significant humanitarian, development, and security assistance Canada is already contributing to Iraq. Like all peace-loving nations, Canada has put a clear focus on countering terrorist acts and on working together with our international allies in all aspects.

Over the past several years, global conflicts and the factors that drive terrorism have continued to evolve. Our efforts to combat terrorism include strengthening our laws to deter terrorist-related activities within our borders and to support Canadians who fall victim to these acts.

For example, our government has listed terrorist entities under the Criminal Code. This sends a strong message that Canada will not condone terrorist activity. We also passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and related amendments to the State Immunity Act, which allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators of terrorism and those who support them, including listed foreign states, for loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world.

Canada continues to work hard to secure its borders at home while also working with international partners to combat terrorist threats overseas. These actions are laid out clearly in Canada's counterterrorism strategy, launched in 2012, entitled “Building Resilience Against Terrorism”. It speaks frankly about the terrorist threats we face at home and abroad and the importance of strong partnerships and collaboration with government, security agencies, law enforcement, and community groups, among others. It underscores our contribution to the global effort to counter the terrorist threat.

Canada's counterterrorism strategy is composed of four elements: prevent, detect, deny, and respond to terrorism. It sets out a clear approach for Canada to address terrorism, with a focus on building community resilience. A resilient society challenges and rejects the ideas and values associated with violent extremism and works together to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack.

While governments today are better prepared to detect and prevent these acts, terrorist groups continue to evolve and develop their capabilities just as rapidly and to plan attacks against new targets and interests.

Without a doubt, the threat posed by homegrown violent extremists, individuals who seek to harm others in pursuit of overtly political, religious, or ideological objectives, is an important challenge facing many democratic nations today, not just Canada. There is a real concern that new and evolving conflicts in the world may lure young people to engage in violent extremist activities at home and abroad.

Canada, like all nations, has a responsibility to guard against its citizens travelling to areas of turmoil and to prevent its citizens from participating in terrorist acts abroad.

We must also be prepared for those who return home. Battle hardened and imbued with real-life terrorist ideology, some of them will be highly skilled potential domestic terrorist actors. Perhaps more importantly, they will have tremendous legitimacy in the eyes of other aspiring foreign fighters. They will have acquired both the credibility and charisma required for them to act as guides, mentors, and radicalization agents in their own right.

That is why our government passed the Combating Terrorism Act, legislation that ensures that Canada has the tools it needs to combat crime and terrorism to protect its citizens.

Particular to that legislation was a provision intended to deter persons from leaving Canada to attend terrorist training camps or to engage in other terrorist activities abroad. Through this provision, our government closed an important gap in the current laws.

Recent court decisions, however, necessitate that we amend the CSIS Act to address important questions that have been raised about CSIS's mandate and investigative authorities. That is why we have introduced Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

By amending the CSIS Act, Bill C-44 would do a number of things. It would confirm both CSIS' s authority to conduct its investigations outside of Canada and the Federal Court's jurisdiction to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to undertake certain activities abroad to investigate threats to the security of Canada. It would clarify that the Federal Court only needs to consider relevant Canadian law when deciding whether to issue warrants that give CSIS the authority to undertake certain intrusive activities to investigate a threat to the security of Canada from outside our borders. It would also protect the identity of CSIS human sources from disclosure, akin to those same protections afforded to police informers, and it would protect the identity of very important CSIS employees who are likely to become engaged in future covert activities.

Additionally, Bill C-44 introduces technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act that would enable the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received.

Our government believes that this legislation will help us uphold the fundamental rights and liberties of Canadians and that these powers will be used judiciously.

The reality is that no government can guarantee that it will be able to prevent all terrorist attacks each and every time. Nevertheless, we are taking strong action through our counterterrorism strategy and through legislation that is before us today, Bill C-44, to address terrorism in its many forms to ensure that our streets and communities are safe.

I therefore urge all members to support the swift passage of this legislation.

Public Safety January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government has taken strong action to combat radicalization. In fact, this is a key pillar of our counterterrorism strategy.

However, when we look at the history of what has happened here and globally around the world, just recently, in October, we had terrorist attacks in Quebec and here in Ottawa against our institution of government.

This government is moving forward with strong legislation, which we will actually be debating in the House today, Bill C-44. I would like it if, for once, that member who stands in the House and asks us questions about how we are going to counter terrorism actually stood up and supported measures that would keep Canadians safe.

Public Safety January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, while the provinces and territories are responsible for disaster maintenance, our Conservative government will continue to support them by paying up to 90% of the response recovery costs for significant natural disasters.

The reality is that this program has not been indexed to inflation since the 1970s. Our government is making a modest adjustment to ensure that costs are balanced fairly across Canada, with the federal government still covering up to 90% of most of these disasters.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I still did not hear a whole lot to do with the bill and so perhaps I can help the member out.

The bill before the House today that we are debating was actually to be tabled on the day of the attacks here in Ottawa on Parliament Hill and against our Canadian Armed Forces. It was not a knee-jerk reaction as some in the opposition have said. It was actually a bill that was to be tabled that day. It was in direct relation to recent court decisions that called into question the authority of our security agencies to actually be able to operate overseas, communicate with our allies, and have the ability to provide their informants with the same protection that law enforcement agencies have across this country. I thought I would add this as general information for the member, possibly for his answers.

However, I am not surprised that NDP members voted against this legislation. They voted against it in committee and will certainly vote against it again. They have not supported a single measure that we brought forward.

This is common sense. It was in the works prior to the attacks. The attack on Parliament on that day is a clear indication that this legislation is needed and why it is needed quickly.

The member's party was not able to support the Combating Terrorism Act. It certainly did not support revoking citizenship from those who commit acts of terrorism against our allies or here in Canada. NDP members are voting against this bill and voting against standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies in the global fight against terror.

My question is very general. Does the member even understand the severity of terrorism in this world, the direct threat that groups like ISIL and those who have created a jihadist movement pose against our country, and what that means to Canada?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have been listening to the full context of this member's speech and I have yet to hear any correlation to the bill we are debating before the House. There is absolutely zero relevance. I am still waiting. Time is almost up. I see you have given the member the final couple of minutes to go, Mr. Speaker, and I honestly have no idea whether the member even knows what we are debating here in the House right now.

Public Safety December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. Our government does not condone the use of torture and certainly does not engage in it.

The primary responsibility of Canadian security agencies is to protect Canadian life and property. If we do get a tip from any source that Canadians' lives are in danger, we will act to save those lives, and we will continue to ensure that intelligence is reviewed and assessed by Canadian intelligence experts before it is acted upon.

Correctional Service of Canada December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member knows well that administrative segregation is a common practice in many western countries, not just in Canada.

Having said that, I again want to speak for a moment about the mental health action plan for federal offenders, which is a five-pillar strategy. As part of that strategy, and we saw this earlier this week, is a two-bed memorandum of understanding between Correctional Service of Canada and a local facility. Two in-patient beds are be available for people with the most serious mental needs in women's penitentiaries. That is in addition to the 32 that are already across Canada, including Saskatchewan and Quebec.

Correctional Service of Canada December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier in question period, this case is indeed a tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Smith family.

The question that has been asked is what the government has done. We have implemented more than half of the recommendations from that coroner's report. In fact, we are going through many of the other recommendations and looking at up to three-quarters of them at this very moment.

However, what our government did earlier this year was launch a mental health action plan for federal offenders, which includes action on timely assessment, effective management, sound intervention, ongoing training, and robust governance and oversight.